Sunday, 12 February 2012

Ice to see you, to see you, Ice!

No, I don't like it when it's this cold. Mainly because I know my local patches are going to completely frozen and not really worth bothering with. A quick check of Uttoxeter Quarry yesterday proved that, and forget Brookleys Lake because it's so sheltered.

But there was a job to do first, and that was helping out with the duck count at Blithfield for the first time. An ice-free deep end produced plenty of duck and Cormorants too. Also from the dam were the Black Redstart showing well, and these two drake Goldeneye.

A quick check of Tad and Blithe Bays didn't produce much, apart from lots of ice. However, it turned out later on that there was a redhead Smew in Tad. Oh, missed that then.

As I didn't see much point in birding closer to home, I tried Doxey Marshes next. Very little exposed water of course, but a bit of Creswell Flash contained 2 Goosander and 14 Pochard. As for the Water Pipit, no sign unfortunately. Although a single pipit that flew over was a Meadow Pipit.

Really not knowing what else to do for the rest of the afternoon, I went to Belvide. You never know, the juvenile Glaucous Gull might re-appear in the roost, and if all else fails, there's a Scaup.

Well, it's a good job the Scaup was there! Very few gulls came into roost, which so often happens at weekends when rubbish tips are shut, gulls then tend to move on. Should've thought really. But one good piece of entertainment was one particular immature Herring Gull having fun with a cork. Flying up into the air with the cork in it's bill and dropping it down, and a bit of ice hockey! But be warned if any other bird tried to pinch it, Corky wasn't happy with that! But that aside, it ended a day where not much went right.

Onto today. When pondering where to go when a strange twist of fortune happened. The pager went off, "adult Glaucous Gull at Westport Lake!". It's only twenty minutes away and hopefully the mist will keep it down for a bit, let's go!

Half-expecting it to fly off before arriving, the adult Glaucous Gull was still there, having moved from the boating lake onto the main lake.

What a monster it is, towering over the Lesser Black-Backed Gulls! Apart from it's size, the short primary projection distinguishes it from Iceland Gull. After 15 minutes it took off, gained height in the mist and was gone! But that completely made up for yesterday.

To finish for this time, just one little bit of unfinished business from yesterday. Heading back to Blithfield this afternoon, the redhead Smew was indeed there at the end of Tad Bay. Best viewed from Newtonhurst Lane.

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